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What is the best way/rate for arranging a train from Madrdi to Barcelona in July?

What is the best way/rate for arranging a train from Madrdi to Barcelona in July?

Jun 3rd, 2006, 08:45 AM
  #1  
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What is the best way/rate for arranging a train from Madrdi to Barcelona in July?

I am trying to find the best and least expensive way to arrange for five people to get from Madrid to Barcelona on the 11th of July, 2006. I got one contact a while back that said to recontact them in late May/early June and can't find the number. Rick Steves has a site that gives instructions on making train arrangements but you need to know the train station of origin and I am still finding out that info. Does anyone have any suggestions?
baldworth is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2006, 09:46 AM
  #2  
 
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Have you been on the Renfe.es web site and check the prices and train schedules?

You can book on-line once you register with Tiknet, Renfe's booking service.
Robert2533 is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2006, 10:06 AM
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The departure station will almost undoubtedly be Madrid-Atocha. You could actually do this trip starting out at Madrid-Chamartin but you'll end up changing at Atocha.

You can use the Renfe site as pointed out above and go through the TikNet registration but in all honesty if you are going to be in Spain for several days prior to your trip you might just as easily wait and make the reservations as soon as you arrive unless you are going to be traveling during some very busy holiday period.
Intrepid1 is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2006, 10:08 AM
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There are seven daytime trains on your particular date.
Intrepid1 is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2006, 10:46 AM
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baldworth,
Normally I would say, as Intrepid notes, that you could wait until your arrival in Spain to purchase your tixs, provided that you have several days lead time. But that route, Madrid-Barcelona is extremely popular in July, and you'll need 5 seats. I have had problems finding just one available seat, when I've waited to purchase 5 days before my departure. The tourist class seats for the particular train I wanted had already been sold, and I was forced into a later train and "Preferente" class, which costs more. Just my personal experience.

I've just purchased early July tixs from Madrid to Zaragoza on the new, slightly speedier "Alvia" through TIKNET without any problem. Renfe has just added several "Alvia" departures to the Madrid-BCN route to cut the trip down to 4 hrs. 15 min.

Since you would be a first time user of TIKNET, you wouldn't be able to print out your tickets as already "established identity" users can. You would need to present your "locator number" you will be given ("localizador") and the same (this is important!) credit card that you used to make your purchase at either any Spanish train station ticket counter or...
at the Renfe counter downstairs in the int'l arrivals area of Terminal 1 in Barajas airport to retrieve your tickets.

If you choose the Barajas Renfe counter in Terminal 1 option, please note:

If you're flying into Madrid on Iberia or American, you'll be arriving in Terminal 4, which is located 4 km. from Terminals 1-2, and you would need to take a shuttle bus over to pick up these tixs. A hassle if you want to speed on to your hotel and rest.

Continental, Delta and US Air still use Terminal 1.
Maribel is online now  
Jun 3rd, 2006, 11:03 AM
  #6  
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Thanks everybody for the good information. We are on a package tour to which I am adding Barcelona and Hamburg so we will only be in Madrid for a couple of days before we need to leave for Barcelona. I would much rather have all of the transportation settled before we leave for Europe and this is the final piece. Who has the best rates and should I expect to pay per seat?
baldworth is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2006, 11:45 AM
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As mentioned the renfe site is a snap for finding train schedules and prices. Maybe there is a plane or a bus which offers cheaper fares??

Madrid has two major train stations, Chamartin and Puerta de Atocha. Day trains to Barcelona leave from Atocha. Get to the station early so you have time to appreciate what is one of the most beautiful train stations in Europe. The train will arrive in Barcelona at Sants station.

Buy your tickets at your first opportunity after arriving anywhere in Spain, not from Rick Steves or the other American merchants. I haven't used TikNet but would do that based on the other recommendations here if your schedule is really critical. Per the Thomas Cook European Timetable, seat reservations are compulsory for all direct trains from Madrid to Barcelona.

In addition to the day trains from Atocha there is an excelent Estrella night train which departs from Madrid Chamartin station. I paid a 16 euro supplement for a bunk on this one when traveling with a EurailPass. If you are in mixed company the caballeros may need to ride in a cabin separate from the señoritas.



hopscotch is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2006, 12:19 PM
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Hi baldworth,
Just a second to what hopscotch has noted about the fares. Other vendors such as Rail Europe do add a service fee, so you always get the best, "official" fare on www.renfe.es

There's bus service to BCN, but it makes for a much more tedious, lengthy trip.

Also www.vueling.com
www.iberia.com
www.air-europa.com
www.spanair.com
ply that air route. I would do a fare check on all. Sometimes you can find an unbelievably low air fare (such as 18 euros plus taxes on the 7 a.m. Air Europa departure-but the additional taxes can be more than the base fare!)
Vueling is a relatively new low cost carrier, and posters have found great deals there.
Maribel is online now  
Jun 3rd, 2006, 12:25 PM
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I will second Maribel and Baldworth...try using the Renfe site and registering for the Tiknet capability.

I would also strongly suggest you check out all the possible airline fares by going to both the Iberia and Spanair sites as well as checking on budget possibilities using www,whichbudget.com and www.skyscanner.net.

I love riding the rails but the air time Madrid-BCN is only an hour and a few minutes one-way and if you CAN get one of those low one way fares all the better. Spanair and Iberia compete very heavily on this route and I believe each one has almost hourly service.

Good luck.
Intrepid1 is offline  
Jun 8th, 2006, 10:49 AM
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The website at Renfe.es is all in Spanish. Is there some way to get an English version? Or some way to translate on site?
baldworth is offline  
Jun 8th, 2006, 10:56 AM
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Renfe.es also has an English page. There are four little flags on the left side of the page. Click on the British Flag symbol and it will take you to the English language page.

Please note that you will not be able to print your tickets unless you have registered on the TikNet site and have used their services at least once in the past.
Robert2533 is offline  
Jun 8th, 2006, 12:14 PM
  #12  
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Nevermind about the Renfe site. Maribel and Intrepid, you guys are great! I found a 10 euro fare that with taxea and booking fees still only costs $33 per fare from Madrid to Barcelona. Vueling gave me a great rate so I have booked five seats. What else do you know about Vueling Maribel? Thanks so much for saving me and my companions money.

Baldworth
baldworth is offline  
Jun 8th, 2006, 03:16 PM
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Hi baldworth,
Thought you might find a really cheap fare for your date. Vueling is a Spanish low cost airline that should take you to BCN just fine. Vueling has recently expanded its internal routes and now flies from BCN to Alicante and other cities in Spain and also flies internationally to Lisbon, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, Milan, Venice, Rome and soon to Athens. Several Fodorites have snagged really low fares on Vueling.

From Barajas you'll be leaving from the brand new Terminal 4, so alert your driver so that you won't be taken to the older Terminal 2, 4 km. away.
Please note that each passenger is allowed only 20 kilos of checked luggage. Over 20 kilos, you pay a surcharge. Read all the fine print on FAQ at www.vueling.com
Congratulations!
Maribel is online now  
Jun 8th, 2006, 06:17 PM
  #14  
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Thanks a lot!
baldworth is offline  
Jun 9th, 2006, 09:55 AM
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baldworth- I have flown Vueling a few times and only had too much luggage once and they did, indeed, charge me. So, be careful with that.
laclaire is offline  
Jun 10th, 2006, 01:33 AM
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Have you considered renting a car? You should be able to make this trip in a (long) day by car and the car rental divided by 5 may be cheaper than other modes. Plus, by driving you get to see a lot of spain you will otherwise miss.
dova is offline  
Jun 10th, 2006, 04:44 AM
  #17  
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Arrangements are made and paid for so Vueling it is. Laclaire, I am really looking forward to seeing you un Barcelona if we get the chance. You have been a great help in planning this trip. So if you are approached by a fifty-two year old bald(on top)guy about 6'2 and 200 pounds with a full beard don't be afraid. We will get to Barcelona on the morning of the 11th and it sounds like you know your way around very well. If I get the chance I'll send you a picture so that you have an idea what to expect.

Baldworth
baldworth is offline  
Jun 10th, 2006, 02:24 PM
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baldworth- I got the picture! How funny! We will e-mail closer to the date, but I am always up for lunch or coffee. Or beer. Sangría. Una clarita. Ron con coca cola. Chocolate. Hell, water!
laclaire is offline  
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